Title: If Only I Had a Duke
Author: Lenora Bell
Publication Date: 30th August 2016
Publisher: Piatkus | Little, Brown Book Group
After four failed seasons and a disastrous jilting, Lady Dorothea Beaumont has had more than enough of her family’s scheming. She won’t domesticate a duke, entangle an earl, or vie for a viscount. She will quietly exit to her aunt’s Irish estate for a life of blissful freedom. Until an arrogant, sinfully handsome duke singles her out for a waltz, making Thea the most popular belle of the season.
The duke ruined her plans and he’ll just have to fix them.
Dalton, Duke of Osborne, is far too heartless for debutantes or marriage—he uses dalliances and public spectacle to distract from his real purpose: finding the man who destroyed his family. When his search leads to Ireland, the last thing he needs is the determined, achingly innocent Thea, who arrives in the dead of night demanding he escort her to her aunt. His foolish agreement may prove his undoing. The road to the Emerald Isle is fraught with unforeseen dangers, but the greatest peril of all might just be discovering that he has a heart…and he’s losing it to Thea.
Note: I received this book as an ARC from Little, Brown Book Group in return for an honest review.
You may remember that a couple of months ago I took part in the blog tour for the first book in this series, How the Duke Was Won. I really liked that book and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it because historical fiction is a genre that never really floats my boat. I enjoyed this book, the second book in the Disgraceful Dukes series, too – although not as much as the first.
The story focuses on Lady Dorothea, or Thea, the half-sister of Charlene from the first book. She is quite similar to Charlene in the fact that she likes to rebel against the traditional roles and responsibilities of the gentry. It was great to read another story about a strong woman and someone who doesn’t feel the need to have a man’s support. She is a lover of art and when in Ireland at the beginning of the book, she stumbles across a stash of paintings in the Duke’s home that she knows to be worth a lot of money. It becomes her goal to see these paintings properly, she vows to come back to Ireland with the Duke to see them.
I liked how this book, compared to the first one, had a large focus on the story of the Duke. We find out so much about his tragic backstory – when he was ten years old his younger brother was taken and assumed to be murdered. For the whole of the Duke’s life since then he’s been convinced that his brother’s death was his fault. Haunted by this, he eventually travels to Ireland with Thea to find the man who murdered his brother. I really liked that this story became a bit of a murder mystery amongst the romance.
One element that I didn’t enjoy as much as the first book was the amount of romance that seemed to happen very quickly, despite both the Duke and Thea being so against commitment. There were A LOT of steamy scenes, one thing I always feel a bit weird reading because it’s really not my thing to read. This obviously is a personal thing though; it comes down to me not being a big reader of this genre.
The story flowed and the romance, travel/adventure and murder mystery elements blended together very well. I loved the new characters we were introduced to and the way that their stories intertwined, and I also liked the brief comeo appearances from Charlene and James from the previous book. Overall it was very easy to read and although I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first book, I still read it in two days flat – that means I must have liked it!
Try this book if…
You love a steamy romance and a great adventure! It’s also great if you like to see perspectives from multiple characters, but from a third-person view. It’s good to read something from a third-person view but still see the thoughts and perspectives of the two main characters.